The idea of whether it is possible to be addicted to certain foods is being explored at a public meeting in Dublin today.
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland event is being attended by national and international experts who will discuss consumption patterns and whether food choices can lead to addictive behaviours.
Studies show that two out of three Irish adults and one in four primary school children are overweight or obese.
Public Health Nutrition Specialist Dr Mary Flynn, a speaker at the event, said it is difficult for healthy foods to compete with high-fat, high-sugar treat foods.
"We like creamy, gooey - that means it has be high in fat," she said.
"Crispy, crunchy - saturated fat is good to get that texture, or trans fats even".
"And then colour - well we can add it in.
"If you look at fruit it's got a distinctive smell, a distinctive taste - you either like it or you don't.
"But if you could process it, you can make it appeal to a lot of humans," she added.
Pictured are Prof. Julian Mercer, Head of Obesity and Metabolic Health at the University of Aberdeen, Paula Mee, Nutrition Consulting, Dr John Menzies, Research Fellow with the Centre for Integrative Physiology, University of Edinburgh. Picture by Shane O'Neill / Fennell Photography